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Exo 3:15 KJV - 15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

Psa 135:13 KJV - 13 Thy name, O LORD, endureth for ever; and thy memorial, O LORD, throughout all generations.

And is the memorial also the name?

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The translation choice "memorial" is most unfortunate in modern American usage, as if God is dead so he needs a memorial. Maybe a plaque or a public garden would do.

The OT זכר is better translated by "invocation". It is an active calling out the name, as in Psalm 20:7 (KJV, MT verse 8):

אֵלֶּה בָרֶכֶב וְאֵלֶּה בַסּוּסִים וַאֲנַחְנוּ בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ נַזְכִּיר

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God

and Exodus 20:24 (KJV, MT 20):

מִזְבַּח אֲדָמָה תַּעֲשֶׂה לִּי וְזָבַחְתָּ עָלָיו אֶת עֹלֹתֶיךָ וְאֶת שְׁלָמֶיךָ אֶת צֹאנְךָ וְאֶת בְּקָרֶךָ בְּכָל הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר אַזְכִּיר אֶת שְׁמִי אָבוֹא אֵלֶיךָ וּבֵרַכְתִּיךָ

An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee

In both of these verses, "invoke" would be a better translation in today's American vernacular.

When translating the OT, the KJV consistently follows the Jewish tradition as represented by RASHI. In Psalms 135:13, the KJV and the traditional Jewish interpretation see the two usages of the tetragrammaton as address forms, that is, directly addressing God by his name and praising Him. The logic behind this translation is the previous verse,

And gave their land for an heritage, an heritage unto Israel his people

That is, verse 13 in interpreted to be praise for granting of the land of Sihon and Og and all the kings of Canaan to Israel as an eternal heritage. Because at least part of that land was not included in the promise to Abraham, verse 13 is interpreted as implying eternal title to those lands.

IMHO verse 13 (MT) is more correctly interpreted as an assertion of faith:

יְ֭הוָה שִׁמְךָ֣ לְעוֹלָ֑ם יְ֝הוָ֗ה זִכְרְךָ֥ לְדֹר-וָדֹֽר

"YHVH" is Your name forever, "YHVH" is [the proper form of] Your invocation from generation to generation

This interprets verse 13 as an answer to and affirmation of Exodus 3:15.

The OT parallelism in this verse indicates that "Your name" and "Your [form of ]invocation" (remembrance) are closely related in meaning. The difference between the two is that שם, "name", is a noun with no verb form in Hebrew, whereas זכרך, "invocation", is a noun form that can also be an active verb.

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  • Hi Abu. Do you happen to know if "your form of invocation" would be specialized jargon or natural, normal Hebrew? I have been wondering if it might refer to "how it appears in legal documents" might be the sense? It would give a spiritual rationale as to why invoking his name would be significant (without ascribing it to a "magic incantation").
    – Ruminator
    Mar 9 '19 at 21:14
  • @Ruminator (That's "Abu Munir", my kunya name. My firstborn son is "Munir" in Arabic, "Yair" in Hebrew) Psalm 135:13 doesn't sound "legal" at all to me, either for OT or modern Hebrew, which I speak at home and at work. The verse is short, affirmative, and slogan-like, like the "shema" (Deuteronomy 6:4). Mar 9 '19 at 21:25
  • So might you, at the office or at home, say "Nice to meet you, Rosa; Abu Munir is my form of invocation"?
    – Ruminator
    Mar 9 '19 at 21:31
  • @Ruminator No. In post OT Hebrew, זכר lost the meaning of "calling out" or "invocation" and came to mean "remembering". The use of "memorial" or "remembrance" in translating this verse is a back-reading of post OT Hebrew usage into the OT. Same for Psalm 145:7, which should be translated "The invocation of your great abundance they will say..." Mar 9 '19 at 21:43
  • I don't consider "The invocation of your great abundance they will say..." to be English. I mean, I could guess but the words don't paint a picture.
    – Ruminator
    Mar 9 '19 at 21:46
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Here is the rendering of Ex 3:15 & Ps. 135:13 that puts things in its correct perspective; note the NWT:-

1st

Exo 3:15 KJV - 15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD (Heb. YHWH/JHVH) God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

NWT Exodus 3:15 "Then God said once more to Moses: “This is what you are to say to the Israelites, ‘Jehovah (Heb. YHWH/JHVH) the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and this is how I am to be remembered from generation to generation.

2nd

Psa 135:13 KJV - 13 Thy name, O LORD (Heb. YHWH/JHVH), endureth for ever; and thy memorial, O LORD (Heb. YHWH/JHVH) , throughout all generations.

NWT Psalm 135:13 "O Jehovah (Heb. YHWH/JHVH), YOUR NAME endures forever. O Jehovah(Heb. YHWH/JHVH), your fame endures for all generations."

What is going to be a enduring "memorial" to God for ever is his name as the names of all other Gods will fade into oblivion with the passing of time, His will last:-

NWT Micah 4:5 "For all the peoples will walk, each in the name of its god, But we will walk in the name of Jehovah (Heb. YHWH/JHVH) our God forever and ever."

NWT Psalm 113:2 "May Jehovah’s (Heb. YHWH/JHVH) name be praised From now on and forever."

Note the Bible texts with Jehovah/Yahweh therein have been changed to read "LORD" instead of showing were Almighty God inspired his name recorded:-

The term “Jehovah,” appearing in the American Standard Version (1901), takes the place of “LORD” (all caps) in the King James Translation, as well as in most modern versions.

It derives from four Hebrew consonants, called the Tetragrammaton, a term that signifies a four-letter word. This expression is used by scholars for the four Hebrew letters, YHWH, that constitute a name for God employed some 6,800 times in the Old Testament. (Note: “Jehovah” is found in the King James Version in Exodus 6:3, Psalm 83:18, and Isaiah 12:2 and 26:4.)"-https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1541-what-about-the-name-jehovah

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The Hebrew words זֵ֫כֶר (zeker) occurs 23 times in the OT and almost always associated with remembering someone's name - often the name of the LORD. Most famously, it first occurs in Ex 3:15 and is associated with the "I Am" name of the LORD.

The word also is used as part of a series of promises to blot out the memory of Amalek (Ex 17:14, Deut 25:19) or even unfaithful Jews (Deut 32:26, Est 9:28, Job 18:17, Ps 109:15) or enemies of God's people (Ps 34:16), or the dead (Eccl 9:5). It is also used to remember the righteous (Ps 112:6, Prov 10:7)

Often the word is used to talk about remembering the name of the LORD (Ps 6:5, 30:4, 97:12, 102:12, 111:4, 135:13, 145:7, Isa 26:8, Hos 12:514:7).

In the case of the two verses quoted, the word is used specifically to remember the name of the LORD - the tetragrammaton YHWH is grammatically linked to "I AM" as is seen particularly in the LXX in places like Deut 32:39, Isa 41:4, 43:10, 13, 25, 45:19, 46:4, 48:12, 51:12, 52:6.

The famous Hebrew "Shema" of Deut 6:4 continues with an instruction to love God (v5) and then to do everything to remember the instructions by impressing them on the people (v6, 7).

Such instructions were very urgent for the Israelites because they the people who "were called by my [LORD's] name." (2 Chron 7:14, Isa 43:7, Jer 7:10, 11, 14, 30, 32:34, Amos 9:12). Everything the Israelites did was supposed to represent the Name (ie, character) of the LORD. Thus they should do every things to remember and not forget the Name of the LORD.

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  • How might you translate the clause?
    – Ruminator
    Mar 8 '19 at 19:57
  • I think the NASB has it about right here. "This is my memorial-name to all generations" (Gen 3:15), AND, "Your name, O LORD, is everlasting, Your remembrance, O LORD, throughout all generations." (Ps 135:13).
    – user25930
    Mar 8 '19 at 20:11
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Disclaimers:

  • I have no formal training in biblical languages

  • what I'm saying is not uncontroversial (and may be unique to me)


According to Alan Lenzi, Associate Professor at the University of the Pacific, an ancient near east (ANE) treaty included a memorial:

...Treaties invoked divine powers to witness the stipulations and the oaths parties took to abide by them. And the physical documents were usually deposited in a temple, where they served as reminders to the gods to enforce them...

As I read the text, the name is an abbreviated form of the text just preceding the sentence in which he identifies himself as (and I paraphrase, a LOT):

"I am YHVH..."

"I will be..."

The "memorial" part would be:

"...and this name is the divine assurance that I will be what I say I am and I don't need your approval because you can't stop me"

We see YHVH hammer home his faithfulness to his commitments in Isa 40-55; Jer 33; Ezek 33-48.

Or possibly, "I am Irresistable; (resistance is futile)"

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